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1 891] Book Notices. 313
A Commentary on The Revelation.
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. The Revelation of St.
John the fiivine : With Notes and Introduction. By the late Rev. Wil-
liam Henry Simcox. New York: MacMillan and Co. Pp. LX., 174.
Price 75 cts.
At last we have a commentary on Revelation reasonable in matter and price,
fresh, broad, scholarly, free from crotchets, and positive without narrowness,
dogmatism or vituperation. The regret, already expressed by many, is inten-
sified by the appearance of this book that the biblical world has so early lost
by death the presence and work of this competent scholar. Sixty pages of In-
troduction furnish a very complete presentation of the general problems of the
book. Chapter I. on the Authorship and Canonicity of the Revelation, main-
tains the canonicity and, after a careful examination of the arguments against
the authorship by John the apostle, rejects all but that from 'style and allows
that even this may be set aside if sufficient time can be shown to intervene
between the composition of the Revelation and that of the Gospel. In ChapteT
II. therefore, he takes up the question of date and place of composition. The
latter is recognized to be Patmos. After a thorough resume of the tradition
as to the date and a study of the internal evidence, the evidence of Irenseus
in favor of the late date is set aside and the conclusion is that " the most prob-
able view seems to be, that the Revelation was written by the Apostle John,
at some time between the death of Nero in June A. D. 68, and the capture of
Jerusalem in August A. D. 70." Principles of Interpretation occupy Chapter
III. This chapter is not so clear as it might have been made but the general
position of the writer is that there is truth but not the whole truth in each of
the great systems of interpretation the " prseterist," the " futurist " and the
" continuous historical" or " resumptive." The book must have been more or
less intelligible to its first readers ; yet its pictures and visions have no com-
plete and adequate counterpart in the history of those times — but await a
complete fulfilment ; and that fulfilment is to be preceded by certain events
which occur in the history of the world and occur repeatedly. But the "con-
tinuous historical " scheme is regarded as a failure in its attempt to make out
its detailed scheme, and the identification of Antichrist with the Papacy is
emphatically denied from the testimony of both Scripture and history.
Chapter IV. completes the Introduction with an Analysis.
The main body of the commentary follows, succeeded by an Appendix of
thirty pages embodying three excursus. The first considers the question
whether the " angels of the churches" are bishops or guardian angels, and
leans to the latter view. The significance of the angelic element and of the
four living creatures is also discussed. The second is concerned with the
Heresies controverted in the Revelation and finds in the absence of references
to the doctrines opposed in the Gospel evidence for an early date. The third
" excursus " is by far the most important as well as the longest, being au elab-
314 Book Notices. [Nov.,
orate examination of Vischer's recent theory of the Composition of the
Apocalypse so highly commended by Professor Harnack. Mr. Simcox while
recognizing the plausibility of the theory and the difficulties which it succeeds
in explaining, cannot find sufficient evidence in its favor to warrant its accept-
ance. In the commentary Mr. Simcox seems to want to be impartial and
desirous simply to get at the sense of the passage under consideration without
regard to theological presuppositions. Thus he maintains the literal inter-
pretation of the millenium passage, regarding any other view as exposed to
insuperable exegetical difficulties and adding, "if the true sense be not the
literal one, it is safest to regard it as being as yet undiscovered." The
"woman " of chapter 12 is the Jewish church. The beast " the eighth and is
of the seven," is Domitian.
There is much to commend in this book. There are some things also which
are defective. We have already noticed a want of clearness in the discussion
and the same appears in the interpretations. Various views are suggested
but no definite grounds are given for decision and the student is left in uncer-
tainty not merely as to the writer's view but as to the facts in the case. The
other chief defect is a failure to give due weight to the symbolic character of
the book, and to recognize a unity, whether original or artificial, in the course
of thought. Perhaps, however, the reader and student may be thankful to
meet with a commentator on the Revelation who is not provided with a ready-
made scheme of interpretation, not cock-sure of every hard passage, not so
desirous of making a clear and strong impression as of getting at the truth,
and willing to be uncertain where the light is dim.
Historical Criticism and the Gospels.
Gospel-Criticism and Historical Christianity : a Study of the Gospels and
of the History of the Gospel-Canon during the Second Century, with a
consideration of the results of Modern Criticism. By Orello Cone, D. D.
New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 365. Price $1.75.
This book is addressed " to the believers who fear criticism and to the un-
believers who appeal to it," and the endeavor is to persuade both parties to
see that the extremes at which they stand are equally wrong. True criticism,
criticism in its final and settled issues, is a defender of the essentially histori-
cal character of Christianity. However readers may agree with the positive
statements of the author upon disputed questions, they may be duly grateful
for this conspectus of the course of investigation into the canon, genuineness
and authenticity of the Gospels. It is difficult to avoid expressions of individ-
ual opinion when one is dealing with such themes and also to be willing to
confine oneself rigorously within the bounds of one's chosen field of discussion,
but the writer has emphasized rather too vigorously his radical views and per-
mitted himself to range through the realm of exegetical and dogmatic theol-
ogy. He admits possible Johannine material in the Fourth Gospel but denies
its authorship to the apostle John. It is concluded that there are state-
ments attributed to Jesus in the Gospels which it is impossible that he ever
uttered, especially all the material about the second coming which is the pro-
duct of the Jewish consciousness of the time. The hermeneutical method of
the evangelists is impliedly beneath contempt. On the whole the Gospels are
" unique productions of love and legend," in general not unhistorical and yet
not history, containing legends, discrepancies, contradictions, "unhistorical
elements of various kinds." These are the main positions of the book on criti-